The other divergence problem – climate communications

I regularly get angry emails from people who are convinced that I’m single-handedly destroying the world with my opinion which is supposedly funded by “big oil” and the Koch brothers. Of course, having nothing else, that’s all part of the huge lie people like Dr. Mann likes to push, like this bit of libel over the weekend:


I’m dealing with Dr. Mann’s libel separately, but for the record I’ve never gotten a dime from the Koch brothers, or “big oil”, nor am I a “denier for hire”, and Dr. Mann knows this because he backed down from a similar claim in the past when challenged on it. Now, knowing that, he’s demonstrated malice, fulfilling one of the tests for libel.

That aside, and along the same lines, I recently got an email that included this claim:

“…your pathetic little attempt at pushing climate denialism isn’t working. Places like Real Climate and Skeptical Science are putting your little enterprise to shame.”

So, I thought I’d check and run some numbers to see if I’m shamed or not. Climateers often talk about their climate change cause being a “communications problem”. The numbers I’ve found seem to support that. Witness the new divergence problem:

These are rankings from Lower numbers are better, for example, Google is ranked #1.


It seems that it’s not just globally strong for WUWT, but in the USA too. WUWT is about 8 times more popular in the USA than “Skeptical Science” (SkS), and about 15 times more popular than Real Climate (RC). See the Rank in Country column three:


Look at the bounce rate under Engagement Metrics. Note that over 2/3rds of visitors to SkS don’t engage further. Note also the time on site. WUWT readers spend three times more reading than SkS and almost 9 times more than at RC.

Hmm, well since the email was sent anonymously (as most of the rants are), and I don’t know where the person was located, maybe they were talking about Australia where SkS is located? Maybe that’s where they are kicking our butt? Note column three, Rank in Country (AU):


Eh, guess not- the ratio holds. RC doesn’t even have enough traffic in AU to do a comparison.

Even with Dana Nuccitelli’s signing on with the Guardian and making sure that every time he bashes me and/or WUWT in his column he uses a [nofollow] tag or web citation link to prevent web traffic, it seems that he hasn’t succeeded in keeping WUWT down nor in significantly growing his audience on “Skeptical Science” in the USA or Australia.

Maybe it’s in the UK, where the Guardian is located. Surely SkS is beating me there with all that mass media driven Guardian backed firepower? Note column three, Rank in Country (GB):


Apparently not.

Let’s expand the comparison a bit. My subscription to Alexa allows me to run up to 10 comparisons. I identified what I think to be the most widely read websites on climate that aren’t mixed in with part of a larger organization, making tracking their stats impossible. This of course precludes places like “Climate Progress”, which are part of the larger “Think Progress” or the Guardian, which has many other departments.

While I wish I could run more than 10 on the same graph,  here’s what I learned, again lower numbers are better:


Surprisingly, not only is WUWT leading the pack by a significant margin, it has now surpassed the newspaper “Grist” which has become something of a climate centric enterprise. They also have a paid staff.

Note also Al Gore’s “Climate Reality Project”, which is dead last. It appears that Gore’s million$ don’t translate into traffic. That’s some “reality drop” for him.

That bump that Climate Depot got in late July was from being featured on “The Drudge Report” by the way. Good show Marc Morano.

The metrics are also telling:


So to whoever wrote that email, thanks. It made me look deeper.

Truly, it looks like the climateers have a communications problem. People don’t seem to be engaging them like they used to. Personally I think people are seeing through it all, and angry, irrational, rants from people like Mike Mann don’t seem to be helping his cause at all. I can understand their cognitive dissonance though, because in the world where they exist, where everything is grant/funding driven, surely some former TV weather guy in Chico California and his collection of “flying monkeys” (in SkS parlance) can’t possibly be doing what he’s doing without some massive “big oil” funding behind it. Right? Surely the Koch brothers must be secretly paying for it, like Mann thinks. The truth is, WUWT exists on donations, some advertising revenue sharing managed by, and stamina. I couldn’t live on it, but I’m sure that won’t stop people like Dr. Mann from imagining all sorts of nefarious schemes, like his hilarious Christmas calendar episode.

I think that if I was not a broadcaster, I wouldn’t have the stamina to keep WUWT on the air. As a broadcaster, I learned long ago that dead air peppered with occasional feature rants doesn’t keep viewers coming back. It might work for awhile, but eventually people tire of it. That’s the lesson here. We can be thankful that we have so many examples of climate ugliness in the realm of the Climateers, because they drive people to the other side.

But most of all, thanks to my readers and volunteer moderators and contributors, because without all of you, WUWT wouldn’t be where it is.


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Thanks Anthony, great post.
The Facebook “likes” stat made me smile.

Box of Rocks

So do we need to help pay for a lawyer?

Phil's Dad

‘course time on site could just be because we’re slow readers over here ;0)

Scott Basinger

He wants to goad you into suing him to distract you from what’s really causing his pathetic little enterprise trouble. That would be good information.


I am 97% certain that a check from Big Oil will arrive in the mail any day now, probably before 2027 anyway. 😉


I have been learning of late, that at least a few people out there who believe in AGW, don’t even know of the existence of SkS or RealClimate, and even if they did, they don’t think blogs have any reason discussing science anyway- and what are SkS and RC, but more blogs?


Anthony: I have a few climate websites I follow, WUWT, Bishop Hill, IceAgeNow, Real Science. I always spend a lot of time at WUWT because there are some very interesting, informative comments, and the people who comment here are dedicated and know what they are talking about. There is at times some dialog which gets a little heated but that is part of the engaging and the putting forth of opinions. Keep at it, don’t get discouraged. I don’t use twitter, I see too many people like Mann who put out off the cuff ridiculous remarks which they should read the next morning. Much like the mornings after when too much to drink and a big mouth embarrass’s one.

The “skeptics are funded by big coal & oil” accusation has served AGW promoters well since late 1995 when it started getting media traction, mostly because nobody in the mainstream media shot it down despite it being such an easy target. As AGW itself heads ever closer to going completely over the cliff, we really should pay more attention to how the accusation only has ever really had one source, along with who it was that pushed it along in the first place:
When AGW only has two legs to stand on for its defense, “settled science” and “corrupt skeptics”, if you yank out the latter one for all the world to see, they will more readily be able to watch skeptics chisel out the last bits holding together the first leg.


Thank you for everything you do. Sometimes you need to publish a story like this to remind people that common sense does win out in the end.


Great news, Anthony. WUWT is [and always has been] a class-act, full of information, analysis, and intelligent discussion.
Not bad for a little old meteorologist/tinkerer working out of his garage in Chico.
Contribution on the way

Nigel in Waterloo

I guess the ‘consensus’ is not what they think it is?


On the basis of how Armstrong Williams was damaged by accusations that he was paid to publish opinions he — probably — held anyway, I submit that comparable allegations that Watts is paid for his opinions is damaging.

The entire voting public of Australia has seen what is happening with the warmist brigade and voted overwhelmingly in a record landslide to dump the left/green alliance. The primary campaign platform was the carbon DIOXIDE tax which will be repealed a soon as parliament sits.
Rock on WUWT keep up the good work!

Mann, it is you who are being a “Koch”. Instead of insulting anyone who has the temerity to disagree with your bigoted, illogical and unscientific view of the climate, why not post on WUWT?
Somehow, I doubt you will, because instead of listening to sycophants, you will face a genuine debate.
Mann, I challenge your “science”! Are you prepared to debate?


So is Watts the best front man that the Koch Bros could buy? Well, Watts has rather well argued that he would be. If the Koch Bros wanted to buy a front man. And if they wanted a front man to speak about climate change.
Seems to me Watts should use his metrics to offer his consulting services to Mann. Pretty apparent that Mann needs better front men.

Mike Smith

It has been known for high profile individuals to “hide” income by directing it through proxies.
So, Anthony, how many millions of dollars has Kenji received from the Koch bros and Big Oil?

I’m dealing with Dr. Mann’s libel separately, but for the record I’ve never gotten a dime from the Koch brothers, “big oil”, nor am I a “denier for hire”, and Dr. Mann knows this because he backed down from a similar claim in the past when challenged on it. Now, knowing that, he’s demonstrated malice, fulfilling one of the tests for libel.

Michael Mann is about as bright as I’d expect a mainstream (i.e., political) climate scientist to be, which is not very.


Perfect come-back!
Hit ’em with the TRUTH about AGW. Hit ’em with the TRUTH about your blog numbers!
Keep up the great effort.


Are you going to start a cookie jar to assist with funding the libel action?

Hit ‘em with the TRUTH about AGW.

The truth about AGW is it’s probably happening somewhat, but is a minor player in a larger orchestra.

Jarrett Jones
Jim G

Typical leftist propaganda, “it’s the rich guys or the big corporations” causing all the trouble. Personally, I am disgusted by the big oil companies’ “green” ads!! There is no need for them to make excuses for what they do. Their real crimes are, as oligopolies, charging the prices that they do and screwing their shareholders by paying executives way more than they are worth while paying poor dividends on their stocks. Note that when the lefties are in power they never do anything about the interlocking boards of directors that approve each others ridiculous compensation packages. I have been in the board room and know that of which I speak.

Theo Goodwin

The people visiting RealClimate and such sites are old people out for one more tour before the thing disappears completely or they are youngsters terrified by their grandparents or great grandparents.


Way to go Anthony. Keep up the excellent work.


I would make a joke that Mr Mann is full of crap, but he may take that as a conspiracy in that Koch owns Angelsoft toilet tissue.


Speaking the truth is way better than a court case.

Luke Warmist

Anthony, love what you’re doing here. You’re saying what needs to be said in a clear and concise manner. All the best.


This is a genuine reply I got for posting a WUWT link:
“]What utter rubbish you continuously post. Anything from watssupwiththst is basically automatically completely flawed.”
You must be doing something right Mr Watts.


Jim G: “Typical leftist propaganda, “it’s the rich guys or the big corporations” causing all the trouble.”
That doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Every State is a coroporation. Same is true for every Union of States, Counties, Parishes, Townships, and so on. And quite aside any truth to AGW, it is beyond question that it is driven by the statements of scientists on the corporate payroll.

When I first started looking into the science behind global warming not too long ago I ended up at most of those sites at one time or another. I would say I was in the warmist camp by default so I kept going to skeptical science and looking for answers to skeptic claims. It became increasingly clear that they were childish and more interested in propaganda than science.
I would say that the first time I really became a skeptic was when I heard an argument on a comments page (I don’t remember which one) about Mann’s hockey stick being debunked and people saying it returned. The skeptic seemed better informed and rational. I started looking into the issue (Wikipedia was no help) and that led me to climate audit. Obviously the methods were all laid bare and I was just shocked any scientist had ever done such a poor job, and further shocked that others had stood behind it. But then to see that even today alarmists could not admit it was wrong made it clear that global warming was not about science.
I think you do a great job here of collecting news, talking science and I like to read the always well informed comments from people who want to discuss the science.

James Strom

“Little” was indeed the wrong word. But speaking of the audience, I recently had an occasion to read some posts from a few years back, maybe 2009, and noticed that a lot of recently familiar names were absent from the list of commenters. Do you keep any data on the longevity of your readers?

Paul Westhaver

To Mann;
Let’s see those “scientific” emails you smoke and mirrors tw@t.

Gene Selkov

I imagine, writing things like “pathetic little attempt” must have felt therapeutic for the little blighter. An exercise in self-reassurance. The more removed from reality, the more therapeutic.

Jim G

Jquip says:
October 14, 2013 at 4:59 pm
Jim G: “Typical leftist propaganda, “it’s the rich guys or the big corporations” causing all the trouble.”
“That doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Every State is a coroporation. Same is true for every Union of States, Counties, Parishes, Townships, and so on. And quite aside any truth to AGW, it is beyond question that it is driven by the statements of scientists on the corporate payroll.”
Big difference, states are run by elected officials and they need to convince the majority of voters of their lies where corporations are run by unelected politicians who only need to convince the board/management of their lies. And my only gripe is regarding PUBLIC owned corporations which are supposed to be managed in the best interest of shareholders.


If there’s a lawsuit coming I’ll be absolutely delighted to funnel some government funding (via my salary) into your cause. I can’t believe that the oil-funding trope has survived this long, except that I can believe it – the MSM upholds any lie that helps the causes they believe to be justified. Thanks for all the great work you do, Anthony!


Mikey has lost the plot, gone off the deep end, completely lost it.
Must the the stress of knowing he has ruined his own career, knowing he is now and always will be a laughing stock of a scientist, the butt of many future jokes about academic morons, idiots, grifters, con artists and all round losers.
Such a fine legacy for such a fine gentleman.

Tim B

Um, well this is embarrassing, Anthony, but it’s time you knew the truth.
I, and I suspect many others, get paid by the Koch brothers to READ your blog. That’s why your numbers are so high.
Keep up the good work! 😉

I think Michael Mann has shown a long-term pattern of being thin-skinned and petty, Fred. I wouldn’t say he’s lost the plot now in particular.

Steve Oregon

“angry emails from people who are convinced that I’m single-handedly destroying the world with my opinion”
With your “opinion”?
Is that all it’s been?
Crap, you had me fooled.
Watts wrong with you. I’m outta here.

Where is my secret Koch bros. Bitcoin account? I want in!

Gene Selkov

I was just going to say: with so many agents to pay, there will not be enough dollars in circulation. Bitcoin to the rescue!

Michael Jankowski

I am starting to think Mann honestly believes this stuff. He’s living in a fantasy world. He’s the Norma Desmond of climate “science.”


“convinced that I’m single handedly destroying the world”
Of course you aren’t. Jo Nova and a bunch of others are helping you.


Your project is pre-eminent for a really very simple reason. Integrity. Can’t buy it, fake it or work a street corner for it.
More power to your elbow


“I, and I suspect many others, get paid by the Koch brothers to READ your blog.”
Hey, I want a piece of that, too!


Wow, with the amount of money the Koch Brothers and Big Oil give you Anthony, your ROI is pushing infinity. 😀


PaulH says:
October 14, 2013 at 4:32 pm
I am 97% certain that a check from Big Oil will arrive in the mail any day now, probably before 2027 anyway. 😉

Didn’t you hear? The end of the world due to manmade global warming via carbon dioxide emissions has been called off until 2047. He’s got another 20 years after 2027 to wait for the check. (/sarc) Cheers –

I spent part of the weekend defendign the skeptic line and WUWT on the FB group “Scientific Mensa.” We seem to have some hardcore warmists there with lines likes

The Nobel Prize-winning panel’s report called the warming of the planet since 1950 “unequivocal” and “unprecedented”
Be aware, there is an anti-science campaign attempting to discredit climate science.
The Heartland institute responsible in part for conducting the campaign (see the article) is the same one that a few years ago tried to spread doubt about the dangers of smoking tobacco.
The tundra—a dark horse in planet Earth’s greenhouse gas budget
The disreputable source “wattsupwiththat” tries to imply that there is no problem, since that website has an agenda to advance.
Here’s a site that might counterbalance wattsupwiththat: [Aughh!]
Watt’s Up With That belongs to Heartland Institute and is well known for its bias in favor of big tobacco, big oil, etc.… [Aughh^2]
Scientists looking at climate change have concluded that the current increase in warming is most likely due to increased carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels. Of course they have looked at other possible causes, but none have been found to have as large an influence as the greenhouse effect.
Even if you disagree with NASA and blame increased solar output for global warming, we still should cut back on CO2 emissions, right? We don’t have a thermostat to control the sun’s temperature, we know that CO2 traps heat, so if the sun is heating us up, all we can do is trap less of its heat.

While I’m not sure I changed any minds, I think I did see a “Like” disappear from one of the warmist comments. 🙂 And countered most of the other points, no need to address them here. I ignored the SkS reference because I didn’t want to go off on a Cook and Lewandowski tangent.
What can I say, just keep pushing your agenda. I really would like my share of your big oil money one of these days though. 10% will do fine.

I think the original reason Alarmists were at all interesting was because they had cool toys. They were the source of a lot of satellite pictures and interesting graphs. (Your “Sea Ice Page” didn’t exist back then.) Also they were the ones you went to, if you had questions. Also, while they may have been condescending they didn’t seem so rude (in public.)
However the questions kept coming, and then, besides being rude, they started to simply snip comments. I can think of no better way to turn off readers than to ask for comments, and then disregard them. (And I am not talking about the crude comments; I am talking about the carefully thought out and politely worded comments that they axed.)
Then people started comparing their data with data from other sources, or to older data, and started to notice the “adjustments.” That was when people started to suspect the polite public face was a mask, and a cover for things going on behind the scenes. If you look back through the archives at the pre-Climategate comments you can see that even back then many were fairly certain unfriendly stuff was occurring behind the scenes, even though the evidence was slim.
Climategate made slim evidence fat, and should have been the end of the fraud, and the fact the fraud has continued has taken a lot of the fun out of the scientific side of things. Now the battle is all politics, and also “watching the pea” to see how sleight-of-hand occurs. I miss the old days, when much more scientific wonder and fascination was involved. Back then the struggle for Truth didn’t involve so much stamina, but now it does.
However stamina is required to fight the good fight. Thank you, Anthony, for all you do in the good name of Truth.

Pippen Kool

“but for the record I’ve never gotten a dime from the Koch brothers”
Maybe Mann is basing his statement on your receiving funding from Heartland, and the Koch brothers funding Heartland for the explicit purpose of undermining climate research. I guess I could see how he might come to incorrect conclusions.
REPLY: Maybe, but being a scientist he’s supposed to be exacting. RE: Heartland It was a one-time project, for which I only got half funded, and then the criminal formerly known as Gleick got in the middle of it. I approached them about the idea, not the other way around, and they located an independent donor for the project. For the record (and for the umpteenth time) I don’t get any regular funding from Heartland, I never have. All that has been answered on my FAQs page for quite some time:

Ghandi: ” FIrst they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they attack you, then you win.” Looks like Mann has reached Stage 3. Love that quote as I sit here by my wood fire de-sequestering carbon ;-D